5 Quick Tips to Extend Your Phone’s Battery Life, Without Compromises

By on 13 Jan 2016 . read

Our phones are capable of extraordinary feats, such as sharing photos with friends around the world, summoning cars with the press of a button, and streaming music throughout the house.

However, many people refrain from using these fantastic features because of a newfound sort of anxiety, called dead-battery anxiety (also known, clinically, as nomophobia.

The fear is that you’ll run out of battery before the end of the day, and judging from the recent growth in power banks’ sales, it’s very real.

The easy way to solve this is to turn off LTE, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS and Voice Commands, but that’s no fun! You should be able to enjoy the best of what your device has to offer, and these quick tips will help you accomplish just that, no matter if you’re using an iOS or Android device.

1. Minimize Auto-Lock Duration

Did you know that you’re checking your phone about 85 times per day? According to this recent study, you probably are.

When you check your phone those many times, an auto-lock duration of 2 minutes or 30 seconds can translate into 2.8 hours or 42 minutes of usage time. Given that you’re often just checking the time or notifications, reducing the auto-lock duration is one of the most painless ways to conserve battery.

We recommend setting the minimum auto-lock duration, which is usually 30 seconds.

2. Adjust the Screen Brightness Manually

It’s easy to understand that screen brightness is an important factor in battery life, after all, it’s the most visible thing that consumes power every time you use your phone. Back in 2013, Wired ran an experiment with an iPhone 4 at different brightness levels that showed a difference of up to 3 hours in battery duration (about 46% for that device).

We recommend disabling your phone’s auto-brightness setting and keeping it at about 50% intensity.

3. Use Power Saving Mode More Often

If you keep your iOS or Android versions up-to-date, then you already have some very useful power conservation modes waiting to help you extend your battery life.

On Android (Nexus) this mode is called ‘Battery Saver’, on iOS it’s called ‘Low Power Mode’ and your phone should ask you if you want to enable these modes whenever you’re running out of battery. If your Android phone isn’t one from the Nexus line, it may use another vendor specific power saving mode.

The tip here is that these modes can also be enabled manually, through the settings menu, and the most noticeable difference, from a user perspective, is that apps may stop updating information in the background. Apple’s Low-Power Mode is particularly useful, since it keeps most of the functionality intact, as explained here.

We recommend you turn on power saving mode before being alerted to do so.

4. Recharge at Work

Many of us still believe that charging batteries in short bursts (rather than from 0% to 100%) is damaging to batteries. This is a false belief, ingrained from the times of nickel-based (NiMH and NiCd) batteries.

In fact, according to experts, current Li-ion batteries actually prefer to be kept at 50% capacity and regular full-charging sessions may shorten their lifespan. This means that you can, and should, plug in your phone whenever you get the chance, instead of being limited to charging over the night, as most of us are used to doing.

We recommend you charge your phone while you’re at your workstation. You may even find it convenient to leave a charging cable always plugged into your computer at work.

5. Keep Apps Updated

Most of your battery will be consumed by the few apps that you use more often, or keep running in the background. Unfortunately, not all apps are created equal, and some are more effective at managing your battery than others.

The Facebook app, probably among the ones you use most often, was recently discovered to have a bug that was responsible for excessive battery draining.

Of course they fixed it only a few days later, but the lesson here is that if you’re not updating your apps regularly, you may be missing on improvements related to battery usage.

We recommend you keep automatic app updates over wifi turned on.


We hope these tips help you make the most of your smartphone. In case you still feel anxious about your battery, we suggest you consider buying a power bank instead of limiting functionality.

We’ll leave you with our pick for the power bank that best balances quality, convenience and cost.

AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank - 5,600 mAh

Available at Amazon.com